The history of Lufthansa’s yellow box

Have you ever noticed a yellow box next to the door when boarding a Lufthansa flight? At first glance, this may appear to be part of the aircraft’s livery. However, on Lufthansa jets, this small sign is intended to welcome guests on board the plane with a unique gesture in the air world.

When flights are boarded via a jetbridge, only a tiny portion of the fuselage is visible to passengers boarding the flight. With that in mind, carriers usually try to put this small part of the fuselage to good use, often displaying their wedding band or perhaps information about whether the plane has WiFi. Lufthansa has a relatively new use for this space.

welcome aboard

The purpose of the yellow box painted on Lufthansa aircraft next to the doors is to welcome guests aboard the aircraft. A Lufthansa spokesperson told us the box was called the Welcome Panel. It is designed to green the passengers when they board the aircraft.

The skyline of Frankfurt can be drawn for a flight from Frankfurt. Photo: Tom Boon – Single Flight

The plane crew can leave small messages for passengers to read when they board the plane. These are usually tailored to the time of day or origin/destination of the flight. Sometimes special holidays are also observed. The only limits to the crew’s creativity are personal matters and political matters. Posts following either of these themes are not permitted.

Why have a box at all?

Believe it or not, this yellow welcome sign is a relatively new addition to the German flag carrier’s aircraft. The airline first introduced them in early 2019, meaning yellow signs have been flying around the world for about three years now. Panels can be found throughout the fleet, from narrow bodies like the Airbus A320, to the largest aircraft, the Airbus A380. The panels are only painted next to doors that would normally be used for boarding, so they would only be on the left of an aircraft. In the case of the Airbus A380, these would be the two front doors on the main deck and the 1st door on the upper deck.

The yellow welcome sign has been in use for over three years now. Photo: Alex Tino Friedel via Lufthansa

Lufthansa wanted the box to be a personal surprise for passengers when they set foot on the plane. Pursers and captains are allowed to leave a message or doodle with dry-erase pens. Of course, the establishment of a note is optional and not mandatory for the crew.

What happens to the message?

So what happens to the message once all passengers have boarded? The creation can be saved forever as a photo taken by the crew or passengers, but otherwise the post is deleted. Deleting the message is much easier than you might think. The crew is asked to wipe it off once boarding is complete but before the doors close.

As mentioned, some of the designs may live forever as photos. Recently, Lufthansa asked colleagues to send in their best welcome sign photos. Two of them were then printed on bags and mugs for sale. The money raised from sales went to Help Alliance, the Lufthansa Group‘s aid organization, founded by cabin crew in 1999.

Have you seen a greeting on a Lufthansa flight? Let us know your favorite design in the comments!

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